WHITMORE LAKE, MI — A marijuana retail industry is taking root in Whitmore Lake two years after voters here rejected a proposal to ban dispensaries.
Planted Provisioning, located at 9545 Main Street, had a soft launch on Monday with a grand opening planned for Oct. 1.
The dispensary is the first in Whitmore Lake, an unincorporated community that lies partially in Northfield Township north of Ann Arbor.
Northfield Township was previously split over whether to allow marijuana businesses at all. Nearly 64 percent of township residents voted in favor of Michigan’s 2018 recreational marijuana low.
But in 2019, residents circulated a petition to ban marijuana businesses, eventually getting the initiative on the ballot. The issue was controversial, dividing the township. Elected officials at the time were criticized for being part of the anti-marijuana petition group. The proposal was ultimately defeated by a near 10-point margin, with 1,058 or roughly 44% of residents voting in favor of the ban, and 1,338 or about 56% against it.
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Northfield Township Supervisor Ken Dignan said the defeat shows that the community has “always been on board” with dispensaries and that residents “welcome them in.”
“It’s a great economic boost for our community,” he said.
Planted is one of three marijuana businesses that have been approved in the township. Two other dispensaries have been approved by the township, with one, located at the former Bobber Down bar, 8475 Main St., opening in November under the name Quest Cannabis. The third marijuana business has been proposed at 50 E. North Territorial Road.
Dignan said the company, Northern Trellis, took over a “very challenging property” there, but that the additional renovations will improve the area.
“I think it’s going to be a great shot in the arm,” Dignan said.
Victoria Nichols, Planted’s general manager, said the line was “out the door” on the store’s first day.
“It’s exciting to have it right here,” Nichols said, adding residents in the area previously had to drive 25 minutes away for the nearest dispensary.
Planted renovated its current space and storefront, something Nichols said improved the look of downtown.
Co-owner Matt Ritz said giving back to the community is important to him and its group of owners, known as the Green Guys. In addition to hiring local residents, the company has also donated a park bench, created 22 new parking spaces downtown and renovated its neighboring space, which the Green Guys are considering renting to another retail business.
The company projects that the $1.8 million investment into the facility will yield between $3 million and $5 million for the Whitmore Lake business community.
Ritz has also joined the township’s Downtown Development Authority.
“Whatever helps Whitmore Lake and the township,” he said.
The state also requires marijuana businesses to give back three percent of profits to their surrounding communities.
“All of [the approved dispensaries] have indicated that generosity will exceed that three percent, and I believe it,” Dignan said. “I believe it wholeheartedly.”
Planted itself wants to “put cannabis in a different light” and change the minds of those who may be unsure, said Nichols.
“They don’t expect it to be a very professional or upscale setting,” she said.
Dignan said he thinks skeptics or those concerned about the smell will be “stunned” to see Planted.
“The product that they sell is not inexpensive. It is a legitimate business,” he said. “People who have those concerns need to come down and visit and talk to them.”
Planted Provisionary will be hosting its grand opening on Friday, Oct. 1 with an 11:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony and catering by Eli’s Blazin’ Wings and Pizza. The festivities will go throughout the weekend with Heaven on a Roll Food Truck at the dispensary on Saturday, Oct. 2 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
There will also be live music, giveaways and deals, including a $5 food voucher for every $25 spent in the store.
Planted Provisionary is located at 9545 Main Street in Whitmore Lake and is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.
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